Warmer weather on the coast affects skiers and snowboarders

With all the unusually warm weather we’ve been having on the West Coast during these past few months, winter activities like skiing and snowboarding on the mountain just haven’t been the same. The mysterious climate phenomenon known as El Nino could be to blame for the warmer winter and wetter spring the West Coast has been experiencing lately.

An El Nino refers to a warm phase that occurs when the area’s surface warms above normal and there is a corresponding reaction in the atmosphere that changes weather patterns around the world. Although no solid evidence exists to show that an El Nino has taken place, the Pacific has certainly shown signs of wavering weather patterns.

With the possible presence of an El Nino, Oregon has undoubtedly been subject to the effects of this warmer weather with the equatorial Pacific warming a few times during the end of last year and into the beginning of 2015. People have also turned to El Nino when discussing the main cause of California’s recent rainfall during its severe drought.

Specifically many students on the ski and snowboarding teams at LHS have been affected by this atypical winter weather in terms of their performance up on the mountain.

“This warm weather has definitely impacted skiing conditions,” said senior Hannah Fisher, a member of the LHS ski team. “There was not as much snowfall this year, which made training and competing especially hard.”

Without question, as of late the climate in the United States has shifted snowfall patterns to favor some mountains over others, excluding Mt. Hood from receiving heavy snowfall as it usually does.

Though some skiers may not be aware of what exactly El Nino is and why they should care, skiers must pay attention to the effects of El Nino because a significant change in water temperature across a large area of the ocean affects weather patterns in a consequential way and would thus impact them. As observed, it usually becomes strongest during the northern hemisphere winter season. Its hot water changes the position of thunderstorms and wind patterns over the Pacific Ocean; in turn, this results in a change in wind patterns which ultimately affects the storm track and where snow will fall.